Stony Brook (2-1), which competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, entered the game 0-3 against college football's top tier, the Football Bowl Subdivision. All three losses came in the previous two seasons, against UTEP and Buffalo last year and South Florida in 2010, but the Seawolves were in this one until the fourth quarter and never allowed Syracuse's offense to get in high gear.
Syracuse (1-2) has won its last 29 games against current FCS members, a streak that dates to a 14-13 loss to Holy Cross in October 1958.
The Seawolves entered the game ranked No. 16 in the FCS coaches poll and led the division in total offense. They acquitted themselves well, outgaining Syracuse in the first half behind the powerful running of Miguel Maysonet, who finished with 158 yards rushing, before the Orange defense dug in.
Maysonet gained 137 yards and scored once in the first half, but he was held to two yards in the third quarter when Syracuse came alive.
The Orange took a 21-17 lead on the first possession of the third quarter. Nassib hit Marcus Sales for 38 yards, barely scrambled for a first down on a third-down play, and then hit West for a 13-yard touchdown and the four-point lead with 11:27 to go in the third.
The Orange put the game out of reach when Nassib hit Sales for a 19-yard touchdown on a crossing route over the middle with 5:53 left for the final margin.
Nassib finished 22 of 35 for 335 yards and three TDs and Sales had five catches for 117 yards, his fourth straight 100-yard game.
Syracuse gambled twice on fourth down inside the Stony Brook 3 and failed both times, once in the third quarter and again early in the fourth as the Seawolves remained in striking distance.
Nassib entered the game with some gaudy numbers after solid performances in losses to Northwestern and No. 2 Southern California to open the season. Syracuse, with its up-tempo attack, led the Big East in scoring offense, passing offense and first downs. The Orange had run 182 offensive plays, generating 1,051 yards and 70 points in the two games, and Nassib was 75 of 112 for 804 yards and six touchdowns.
At halftime against Stony Brook, the Seawolves had run six more plays than the Orange, who trailed 17-14 and were outgained 261-220. Maysonet, who led the Big South in rushing last year with 1,633 yards, scored on a 71-yard run on a third-and-3 play for the go-ahead touchdown late in the second quarter.
The Seawolves showed early that they were a team to be reckoned with. After a three-and-out by Syracuse on its first possession, Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore frantically called a timeout with the ball at the Seawolves' 37.
When play resumed, Kyle Essington hit Kevin Norrell behind the Orange secondary for a 63-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. That gave the elusive wideout five catches for 271 yards on the season.
Syracuse tailback Prince-Tyson Gulley tied it two plays later, taking a screen pass 61 yards untouched down the left sideline.
Stony Brook gained a 10-7 lead on Wesley Skiffington's 20-yard field goal late in the first. It was his first field goal attempt of the season.
The Orange finally gained the lead on Broyld's nifty 22-yard run up the middle. He juked past a couple of defenders to give Syracuse a 14-10 edge with 6:01 left in the first half.
Undaunted, the Seawolves regained the lead three plays later when Maysonet ran around the right side, leaped over a diving defender and galloped in for the score. The Stony Brook coaching staff ran along behind him, punching the air with their fists and sensing an upset that never came.
Syracuse's Ross Krautman entered the game with 36 field goals in 42 career tries, including 18 of 19 as a freshman in 2010. On this day, he missed his first two attempts, a 45-yarder that hit the right upright and a 38-yarder that sailed wide as special teams continued to be a bugaboo for the Orange.